Welcome to the Colombia Birdwatch Blog, hosted by Owner/Operator Christopher Calonje. I was born and raised in Cali, Colombia, and have been leading birding and nature tours throughout all regions of Colombia since 2008. I have always carried a camera on my travels, becoming an enthusiast of bird and lanscape photography. This blog is intended to be a showcase of the spectacular birds and scenery that one can experience in the five major regions of Colombia: Andean, Pacific, Caribbean, Amazon, and Orinoco. Subscribers will be able to keep track of my travels throughout Colombia,and view the birds and scenery I photograph during these amazing trips. The idea is that folks will learn about the plethora of birding localities that can be visited in Colombia, in hopes of encouraging birders to visit a country that holds 20% of the world's species of birds in less than 1% of the world's landmass.
I pride myself in knowing the ins and outs of Colombia, its mind-boggling avian diversity, diverse geography, amazing people, delicious food and interesting culture. I find extreme joy in showing off my country to birders and naturalists from around the globe, and want to extend an invitation to all of you to come visit the most avian-rich country on the planet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Colombia Birdwatch's Birds of El 18 and Surroundings - Western Andes, Colombia photoset Colombia Birdwatch's Birds of El 18 and Surroundings - Western Andes, Colombia photoset

El 18 is located on the pass that connects Cali with the port city of Buenaventura (Colombia's only Pacific Ocean port), at approximately 1,800 meters in elevation. The pass is called El 18 because it is 18 kilometers from downtown Cali, and it is our access into the San Antonio Forest. The forest is classified as a sub-Andean cloud forest, and is characterized by low-lying fogs and mists that are formed when moisture-laden air is blown in from the Pacific. Birding in the forest is done along small gravel roads that pass through fragments of cloud forest with good mixed flock activity. The area is regarded as one of the best places to observe tanagers, a true tanager paradise. Possibilities include Purplish-mantled, Golden, Blue-capped, White-lined, Scrub, Fawn-breasted, Summer, Metallic-green, Saffron-crowned, and Golden-naped Tanagers, as well as Ashthroated Bush-Tanagers and Blue-winged Mountain-tanager. Our target endemic species for this area are the awe-inspiring endemic Multicolored Tanager and Flame-rumped Tanager.

Other birds we might see in this area include, Scarlet-fronted parakeet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Streak-capped Treehunter, Scaled Fruiteater, Green and Black Fruiteater, Yellow-headed Manakin, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Black-billed Peppershrike, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Golden-headed Quetzal, Montane woodcreeper, Redfaced Spinetail, Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails, Streaked Xenops and Narino Tapaculo. It will be easy to see the hyperactive Cinnamon Flycatcher, and a delight to listen to the Andean Solitaire. Along one of the roads, we will visit Esdrujal, a local peasant who maintains feeders and attracts an impressive show of hummingbirds. The following species have been observed at the feeders. Purple-throated Woodstar, Blue-headed Saphire, Booted Raquetail, Brown Violetear, Green Violetear, Fawn-Breasated Brilliant, Greenish Puffleg, Speckled Hummingbird, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, White-necked Jacobin, and Long-billed Starthroat. The San Antonio Forest has over 200 documented species, and is one of the hottest birding destinations in Colombia.

Nearby we will search the Felidia River for the endemic Crested Ant-tanager, Grayish Piculet and Apical Flycatcher. At 5 pm we will visit an active Andean-cock-of-the-rock  lek for some closeup views of this magnificent bird.
Sadly, forest fragmentation and habitat loss have made Colombian cloud forests one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. A fundamental step in conservation is knowledge of the biological resources in the area, and second to that, especially in the Colombian cloud forest, is community involvement in protecting resources. Colombia Birdwatch and Rioja Turismo have partnered up with Mapalina, a non-profit organizations that trains local youths to become birding guides and in turn realize the potentials of protecting the cloud forest they live in. We are very excited about this partnership because this region of Colombia holds a special place in our hearts. Thus, it is our top priority to promote conservation, environmental education, and responsible ecotourism that benefits the local communities and habitats of the area.

No comments:

Post a Comment